Your connection with the sky

Lessons from the Edge

Arty Trost is a female ultralight pilot who flies cross-country, multi-week flying adventures that cover thousands of miles. Her Maxair Drifter looks like an ultralight, but is actually a registered Experimental Light Sport Aircraft. About Arty Trost

Alien Landscape: Flying in Southeastern Oregon

August 27th, 2012

In late June I had a fabulous flight to the very edge of southeastern Oregon, nearly to the Nevada border. A good friend was throwing a fly-in at his remote high-desert ranch. He has a dirt landing strip and enough space for a dozen or more planes. This would be the first long-distance flight in my re-built Talon. Bob Coombs agreed to make the flight with me in his Titan.

Flying east up the Columbia River Gorge was more of a stomach clencher than usual; I was listening very, very hard to the rhythm of the engine. The 65 horses seemed to be cantering easily together, never breaking stride. Still, it was a relief to come out of the Gorge into eastern Oregon and it’s multitude of landing spots. The easy two hour flight had us landing in Bend (Oregon) to refuel.

From Bend to Burns was payback for the ease of the first leg. It was almost three in the afternoon, and the sun was hot. Thermals bubbled up and flung the Talon every which way. I never felt in danger, but I had to pay serious attention to staying as straight and level as possible. When we landed in Burns (Oregon) both of us were worn out. Even though we had only another 90 minutes of flying to go, we decided to flake out in the air conditioned FBO for a few hours. By the time we were back in the air it was early evening and the air had calmed down. Read More >>

Heading Out for a Week of Flying

June 25th, 2012

The alarm went off at 4:30 a.m., and I woke full of optimism, only to hear the rain drip, drip, dripping. Darn! A friend had spent the night and we were hoping to be wheels off at 6:00 a.m., heading to the very tip of southeastern Oregon for a fly-in. Of course, it’s been raining for days, only partially clearing in the last afternoon and early evenings. Yet I had been so hopeful!

My fat-ultralight-type LSA Talon Typhoon has been almost completely rebuilt since last summer’s fiasco. It didn’t have major damage, but the master mechanic and his “elves” as he calls them had taken delight in re-creating the plane. All new wiring, new instrument panel, moving the regulator, the radiator overflow bottle, the battery. And on and on and on. They had such fun doing it, and I was delighted. My old Rotax 582 was toast, so I bit the bullet and bought a new one.

The test flight went flawlessly – except for oil leakage from the exhaust manifold. So that was repaired and then I did another test flight. It’s trimmed out so perfectly that I did two patterns around the Independence (Oregon) airport using only rudder – never touching the stick. Since then I’ve put about 20 hours on the plane, and am ready for a long flight. Read More >>

The REST of the Story!

May 30th, 2012

FINALLY – the complete, total “rest of the story!” When I last blogged, in April, I wrote how I had an engine failure and landed in a wheat field outside of Custer, MT – upside down. Amazingly, I wasn’t hurt at all – not a single scratch or bruise. And the Talon had minimal damage, but enough to prevent me from flying home. So with the help of my two flying partners, Wayne in a Rans S-14 and Bob in a Titan Tornado, I rented a truck, took the Talon apart and loaded it up, and drove home. Bob and Wayne continued their flight back to Oregon, taking almost as long as I did because of weather. Read More >>

After the Forced Landing

April 9th, 2012

I haven’t blogged in quite a while – and got several notes from readers who said “Don’t leave us hanging! What’s the end of the story?” My strong apologies and an explanation. My sister has lung cancer and it metastasized to her brain. I flew overseas to be with her and was gone for almost two months. I didn’t have any energy for blogging. She’s been discharged to hospice care and so we’re in a limbo, waiting. Thankfully, she’s in no pain. It was very hard leaving, knowing that I’ll probably never see her alive again.

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What type of segue sentence can move from that last paragraph to picking up the story of my flight home from Oshkosh? Nothing that I can think of, so I’ll just dive in.

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At the end of my last blog entry, I wrote how I’d had a forced landing in a field in Custer, WY. I was more annoyed than frightened when the engine quit. I’ve done dead sticks before, and in this case I was over wonderful landing spots: lots of wheat fields. I set up for a glide to a particularly large field, and brought her down nice and slow and straight, aligned with the pattern of the plowing. (You can tell that by looking at the edges of the fields.) I felt pretty good as my wheels started to touch the tops of the wheat – and was absolutely astounded when I suddenly found myself upside down, hanging from my harness, my face tickled by wheat! Read More >>

Heading Home From Oshkosh

January 31st, 2012

After a week at Oshkosh, we were ready to head home. The first day out, we had a steady headwind of about 6-10 mph and averaged 60-65 mph over the ground. (At least that's what Wayne and I did - Bob as usual zipped along much more quickly.) My Talon was so perfectly trimmed out that when I was trying to remove one sectional from the rubber bands around my right thigh (the way I keep my sectional in sight in my open cockpit aircraft) to get to the underlying sectional and both sectionals suddenly sprung free - I grabbed for them, totally taking both hands off throttle and stick. Caught them - and suddenly realized that the plane was just flying along straight and level with absolutely no rudder or stick inputs. Yeah! Read More >>

A Wonderful Week at Oshkosh

January 20th, 2012

What can I say about Oshkosh- the largest airshow in the world? (Although the sponsoring organization, the Experimental Aircraft Association, calls it AirVenture, everyone calls it Oshkosh.)

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First, there were planes, planes and more planes. People come to see the planes, and there were thousands of planes. I heard that over 10,000 planes fly in and during the week it is the busiest airport in the world! Hundreds of RVs (the planes, not the camping vehicles,) hundreds of Cessnas, hundreds of everything, it seemed. Read More >>

At AirVenture, Oshkosh

December 13th, 2011

Landing at EAA AirVenture on Monday, July 26 was SUCH a thrill! The largest air show in the world!

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The turf runway slowed me down nicely and as I taxied up to the “gate” to the ultralight area, a volunteer sped up on a small scooter. Unfortunately, I had no way to alert the helpful volunteers that my brakes had failed 4 days previously and I hadn’t been able to fix them. He came a little too close to my wing, probably assuming that I’d brake, and I promptly took off his left mirror! Lots of apologies all around, and then I had lots of folks helping me push the Talon to a parking spot near Bob and Wayne. (There’s a strict “no engines on” rule in the tie-down area.). Read More >>

Flying to Oshkosh, Part 2

November 29th, 2011

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Leaving Wyoming was such a relief! We were tired of fighting the wind, high density altitude, (12,500’ DA over Cheyenne) and taxiing 10 minutes for take-off on 10,000’ runways. Although the hills of South Dakota were gnarly, there was a feeling that we’d left the worst behind. Read More >>

Flying to Oshkosh

October 28th, 2011

Oct. 28, 2011

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How has this happened? Almost four months since I’ve posted to this blog! And SOOO much as happened since then – maybe that’s the problem.

My last post was July 5, as I was getting ready to fly to Oshkosh. I won’t whine about the wonderful time we had hosting two Norwegian teenagers – who stayed for a full month, leaving only 2 days before I took off on my grand adventure. Even with trying to be a good host, I did carve out time to check out the Talon thoroughly and pack carefully. This was going to be my first major cross country flight in the Talon with the new gas tank, and the first one where I had to take everything for both hot and cold weather. Read More >>

Everything Takes Three Times As Long As You Expect

July 5th, 2011

I had all these good intentions – to blog weekly about my upcoming flight to Oshkosh. And to get started on my “To-Do” list that HAS to be done so that I can leave on Tuesday, July 19. So what happened? The weather turned into real flying weather, and I’m getting distracted! I go to the airport to fly “just for 30 minutes” and I can hear Norm chuckling. When I see him three or four hours later, he never says “I thought you were only going to fly for half an hour.” Maybe that’s why we’re still married after all these years – he knows when to stay silent!

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In my last post I wrote about gunk in my fuel filter, and deciding to get a new gas tank to replace the fiberglass one that appeared to be disintegrating. Boy am I glad I did! Read More >>